Field of study: Literatures (Anglophone African, Yorùbá, African American, post-1900 Lit Theory)
Hometown: Pickerington (Ohio, USA); Ìjẹ̀bú-Imuṣin (Nigeria)
How did you first become involved in the study of African literature?
I had the fortune of being introduced to serious literary studies at Nigeria’s University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) by teachers who insisted that literatures bear social responsibilities that the critic is duty bound to unravel and disseminate.
What is the most-thumbed book on your bookshelf?
It’s a toss up between D. O. Fagunwa’s Ògbójú Ọdẹ Nínú Igbó Irúnmalẹ̀ and Isidore Okpewho’s The Epic in Africa.
What has been the most exciting moment in your academic career so far?
When my daughter came home after her first day in middle school and said her Language Arts teacher said she was my former student.
Tell us a little bit about your current research.
Reading up heavily on animism and language for the purpose of writing a book on speech acts in poetry. I hope to be able to correlate earnest written poems about social insurgency and verbal elements of incantations, spell casting, divination, panegyrics, and other ordinarily “magical” uses of words.
What subjects or topics do you most enjoy teaching and why?
At the present time, that will be topics in Afropolitanism. Conceiving and teaching this literary slogan as an aspect of contemporary World Literature enables me to teach how Africans inhabit the world and the world exists for Africans.
What would you tell students who are debating whether or not to study Africa?
What are you waiting for? You cannot have a better standpoint for understanding the world.
Why is the study of pleasure in Africa and the African Diaspora important?
It’s about time that Africana Studies owns up to pleasure. Need I say more?
Give us a teaser for your presentation at PLEASURE AND THE PLEASURABLE in Africa and the African Diaspora.
If death’s sting hurts so much, why do the living find so much pleasure and purpose in funerals!
Registration is now open for PLEASURE AND THE PLEASURABLE in Africa and the African Diaspora! Visit the conference website to learn more and register.
Profile produced by Kyra Fox.
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